Being an avid translated C-Novel (only because I cannot read Mandarin although I could communicate in the language verbally pretty decently), I have been reading translated C-Novel online via various blogs thanks to the wonderful translators available online everywhere.
I was introduced to Mo Bao Fei Mao (墨宝非宝) in 2015 through the translated C-Novel titled : Really, Really Miss You (很想很想你), her first novel that I avidly followed for weeks when the translation were posted chapter by chapter on Really, Really Miss You (很想很想你) by Hoju, a translator on the blog whom is a fan of her work. This is followed subsequently by One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨), a beautiful love story about Shi Yi who has memories of her past life and how she is reconnected to Zhousheng Chen in the current life. I am currently following the 3rd translation of this talented novelist with the beautiful teacher-student love novel titled : Together Forever (至此终年/只要我们在一起).
In the meantime, I managed to complete this short and sweet novel titled : Still Not Wanting to Forget (念念不想忘) that has been translated by another translator on her blog : Still Not Wanting to Forget (念念不想忘)
Still Not Wanting to Forget (念念不想忘) is a short 15 chapters story about a couple, Si Nian and Cheng Chen who met online which lead to their online relationship (dating). They never once met in person and when Si Nian (the female lead) was banned from internet and phone for 1 year, they went their separate way (indirectly broke-up). This is a sweet story about how they met years later as a famous director and a scriptwriter and the process of their reconciliation.
Here is the Prologue taken from Still Not Wanting to Forget | Prologue
“What was the biggest challenge in your life?”
“Level 4 English. I took the test four times before passing.”
“Your ambition can be a little higher… Be more rational. The readers of my magazine are all students. Be mindful of your influence on them.”
“Level 6 English. I don’t even dare to enter the examination hall.”
Listening to the Si Nian’s regretful rant about her university’s Level 6 English, the person before her ran out of the patience and snapped, “Si Nian, are you trying to pick a fight with me? Be careful or I’ll isolate you from the industry.”
“… what I want to express is that even if your English is not good, it doesn’t really matter. Every path leads to success.”
Si Nian squatted in front of the TV cabinet, looking at the Blu-Ray discs inside.
Shen Wei Jue that girl recently became Blu-Ray-obsessed but had no one to share her obsession with. Thus she purposely mailed her Blu-Ray discs every week in an effort to convert her into an addict as well.
It is true that image looks better than in DVDs but unfortunately for her, that is all the advantage there is to it…
Liu Xia finally gave up and changed her question. “Why did you use the nickname Qing Yi Fang Huo (lit. Easily Angered/Fired Up)?”
Si Nan glanced at her. “You’re no allowed to tease me for being sentimental … I once wrote this in my diary, ‘it’s only a passerby in life, there’s no need to be easily angered’. I thought it had a lot of feeling, I thought of it when I was coming up with a nickname so I used it.”
“Why did you suddenly decided to write a novel?”
The reason was actually very simple in the beginning.
“I originally wanted to write about a person. He and I did not have a good ending. I wanted for us to have sweet moments for once in the novel.”
Liu Xia laughed. “It’s probably your first love?”
Si Nian did not dared to offend her so she explained, “Yes, it’s first love, it’s also online dating. Back then I was only in third year of high school, it’s definitely the so-called puppy love. In the first place I have almost forgotten about it but in the past two years I would sometimes see him on the news. That is where I got my inspiration from.”
Feeling unease, she added, “Don’t ask who.”
“Online dating? Have you two met?”
“We never met even until we broke up. That is not right, I have seen him but he had not seen me,” Si Nian said grinning. “Back then I wore braces. I was so ugly, how could I meet the person I like. We only did things like video-messaging or writing letters.”
In her teenage-girl mood, she often signed off with two names: Si Nian, Cheng Chen.
Si Nian, Cheng Chen. A deep and sorrowful longing.
“How did the break-up happened?”
“How else did it happened? My mother found out, she cut off the Internet and phone was off-limits. So I was made to disappear.” The hidden risk of a puppy love… Of course it is because of parents’ disapproval. She sighed and concluded, “After the one-year ban, I can no longer find him anywhere.”
“I understand,” Liu Xia said and nodded. “Basically he thought that he was cruelly and mercilessly dumped. Not only did you break up, you also had to be the scapegoat. What a poor child.” Liu Xia thought for a moment; she suddenly thought that she deviated from the actual question. “Then what did that had to do with your novel <Set Fire>?”
Si Nian drained the tea, not saying anything.
“It couldn’t really be that melodramatic, could it?” Liu Xia quickly connected the dots between the setting of the novel and understood. “Many years later you found out that the guy who was your first love, your online boyfriend and your puppy love joined the entertainment industry? An artist?”
Si Nian vaguely answered, “He was first an actor, then a director.”
Things are not set in stone. Even someone like her who was a law graduate ended up being a screenwriter.
Liu Xia immediately grabbed Si Nian’s arm and said, “Tell who he is. If you won’t say, I will jump from your balcony. I’m too nosy, I want to change my occupation to become an entertainment reporter!”
“… then jump.”
“Did you two meet yet? You’re a screenwriter, you occasionally do commercials. Writers and directors have a lot of opportunities to meet.”
“Not yet,” she said, sighing, “the world is not as small as you imagine.”
In the end a proper interview was completely destroyed by gossip.
After finally sending away Liu Xia, only then did she remembered that she needed to go to the office for a meeting this afternoon. The production company she was working for was going to recommend directors.
But she didn’t expect to see a bunch of young girls standing outside the meeting room, secretly whispering to each other.
She walked over and patted the front desk. “What are they looking at? So uncalm. Don’t our company have a lot of celebrities coming over every day?”
“Miss jie, it’s a director who is better-looking than celebrities. It’s the director that shot <Intimate>. That drama made me sobbed uncontrollably, even my mom cried. I thought the director must definitely be a woman to be able to film such an emotional drama. I didn’t think it was a man, furthermore such a well-mannered and attractive man…”
She was just about to brave through the crowd but now she was completely stupefied.
How popular was <Intimate>, that was how popular Cheng Chen was. That was the reason why Si Nian dared not tell Liu Xia. In the past two years Si Nian had ample opportunities to work with him but refused each time with a variety of reasons. She didn’t expect to stumble across him working on this small commercial.
Honestly, the past was not a big deal at all right now.
But to suddenly meet him and say, “Hi I’m Si Nian, I was that first love of yours who you not only have not met but also dumped you…” No thanks.
She took out her phone, walked to the hallway and dialed Shen Wei Jue’s number.
“Oh why are you suddenly looking for me?” Shen Wei Jue chuckled. “I’m filming, hurry up and say what you want to say.”
Si Nian cleared her throat. “Did you think, after all these years, my voice has changed?”
“… probably not.”
“My voice on the phone and in real life, is there a difference?”
“Of course there is some difference.” Shen Wei Jue groaned. “But it isn’t such a big difference. Did you do something wrong, asking such a pointless question? I have to hang up now, my boss is here.”
The call was immediately cut off. She struggled for a full ten-minute before resolving to pretend until the bitter end.
Anyway, the lower-level staff only knew she was called Miss, with the closer ones calling her Xiao M. No one would pay attention to her Chinese name. She repeatedly prepped herself mentally, took a deep breath and went into the meeting room.
Due to the traffic and the crowd outside, she was delayed. By the time she went in, they were already discussing the script. There was a pile of scripts in front of everyone and the producers were using laser pointers to explain.
Si Nian quietly pulled out a chair and sat down.
Cheng Chen was just sitting diagonally opposite her.
The curtains prevented sunlight from coming in and because the lights were turned off, the light from the screen illuminated his face, flashing occasionally. He didn’t change, except for the pair of glasses. There was no change at all. Si Nian stared at his side profile, for a moment she couldn’t look away. As if he could feel the staring, Cheng Chen turned around and looked at her.
Their eyes briefly met. It was fortunate that the room was dark, concealing her embarrassment.
The summer of her third high school year, when she stared at him through the lens of her camera, she had the similar feelings of embarrassment and nervousness.
The image wasn’t quite clear yet the heartbeat was rapid and furious. In that glance there was surprise, and then he looked as if he didn’t know where to laugh or cry. After a long while, he finally rested his chin on his palm, seriously observing the actions of the people in the monitor.
The script explanation was quickly over and someone opened the curtains again.
In the sunlit meeting room, the producer smilingly introduced the person beside him. “This is our director this time, Cheng Chen. He’s the one who directed the hit TV series <Intimate>. I put in a lot of effort in order to get a spot in his schedule.”
Cheng Chen reclined his back, nodding at her.
Fortunately she found a good excuse.
She cleared her throat and deliberately coughed a few times. She lowered her voice and said to the person next to her, “”My throat is in terrible condition these couple of days, please speak on my behalf.”
Thus in the entire meeting, she did only two things: smiling and coughing.
She didn’t know why, but he kept glancing at her now and then.
There shouldn’t be any problem.
It must be her guilty conscience acting up.
Si Nian thoughtlessly skimmed through the script, trying to keep herself out of trouble.
She didn’t expect that, in the middle of a heated discussion, Cheng Chen who had not said anything all this whole, suddenly spoke. “I have throat lozenges. You will feel better after eating some.” His voice is slightly low, cool and very mild.
Everyone stopped to look at him, then at Si Nian.
His voice did not change after so many years.
A little dizzy, Si Nian thanked him. Her voice actually became hoarse from trying to act convincingly earlier.
Cheng Chen placed a small metal tin on the glass table, pushing it towards her.
She extended her hand to grab it and then saw it was by the brand Nin Jiom. Back then when he had a cough, she bought three boxes of Nin Jiom herbal essence (x) for him. It couldn’t be that coincidental… in a flash she had an idea, her hand missed and knocked the tin onto the floor.
Once again everyone stopped because of the sudden noise.
The corners of Cheng Chen’s lips twitched. Maintaining his posture of reading through the script, he silently watched her.
A fun and entertaining read, Mo Bao Fei Mao (墨宝非宝) is definitely one of my favorite C-Author alongside with several others (I will introduce some of my other favorite C-Author at a later stage).